UN: Technology, innovation, and Education in Digital Age Have a Significant Impact on Accelerating Gender Equality

The 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67), the UN’s largest annual gathering on gender equality, the empowerment of all women and girls, and their human rights, successfully closed its two-week long session last Saturday (6 to 17 March) with the acknowledgment of the critical role of technology and innovation in achieving gender equality, according to the “UN Women” website.

The agreed conclusions adopted by Member States provide a blueprint for all stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, civil society, and youth to promote the full and equal participation and leadership of women and girls in the design, transformation, and integration of digital technologies and innovation processes that fulfill the human rights and needs of women and girls.

In conclusion of the negotiations, UN Women Executive Director, Sima Bahous, said: “This year’s Agreed Conclusions are game-changing and bring forward our vision of a more equal and connected world for women and girls in all their diversity. It is our job, as we leave here today, to translate them into reality. The ultimate success of these Agreed Conclusions lies beyond their finalization today, in how we will collectively take them forward.

Women Professionals Summit 2023 Honors Best CEOs

In its second edition of the Women Professionals Summit, the Top 50 Women Forum honored several Egyptian company leaders with the “CEO Gender Equality … New road Map to quality” award.

Among the honorees were Mohamed Shelbaya, CEO of PepsiCo North Africa, Hisham El-Khazindar, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Qalaa Holdings, Hatem Al-Wardani, CEO of AstraZeneca Egypt, and Khaled Kacem, Chairman of Shell Egypt;  receiving it on his behalf was Amal El-Sheikh, Managing Director Shell of the company.

The awards were handed over to the honorees by Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Christian BERGER Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Egypt, and media figure Dina Abdelfattah Founder & Chairman of Top 50 Women Forum.

The CEOs’ selection criteria were for their significant role in transforming the business and professional environment towards a comprehensive leadership culture of gender equality, establishing better workplaces and communities, in addition to reviewing their experiences in creating a deep experience in the gender balance file and helping working women reach their personal and life goals.

Maya Morsi: Empowering Women Is Key to Sustainable Development

Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) affirmed that empowering women and girls while taking into consideration their needs are crucial for realizing sustainable development, according to its President Maya Morsi.

Morsi, who is leading the Egyptian delegation to the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, made the remarks last Saturday during a meeting with Secretary General of the Saudi Family Affairs Council, Maymouna bint Khalil.

She called for changing the erroneous concepts about women in Islam, noting that the upright teachings of Islam underlined equality in the rights of men and women.

Furthermore, she also brought up cyber violence against women, noting that Egypt has ratified legislative frameworks in this regard.

Moreover, Morsi announced that Egypt has launched a technology hackathon to combat violence against women.

For her part, Bint Khalil stressed the importance of clarifying the upright teachings of Islam about women’s issues.  She also affirmed the importance of collaborating with the National Council of Women on common issues.

Saad El-Din El-Hilali: Gender Equality is a Right

Dr. Saad El-Din El-Hilali, a professor of comparative jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, pointed out that when a man leaves his home, he is treated according to his humanity, unlike a woman who receives a different treatment. This happens daily in a country whose people are supposed to have religion number one.

El-Hilali indicated, during the symposium on “Women’s Role in Building Cultural and Moral Awareness” organized by the NCW at the Book Fair, that despite the establishment of civic education in 1908 when the Egyptian University was founded, girls didn’t enroll in the university until 20 years later, specifically in 1928.

He added that in his visits to foreign countries, he found that women receive equal treatment, and their humanity is not insulted. He stressed that equality is a right for women that people seem to ignore and is even rejected by multiple Islamic preachers.

He went on to mention the transformative role of women, as it was a woman who declared national unity in the 1919 revolution besides being one of the leaders of the national revolution.

Moreover, Al-Hilali stressed that the woman’s right to obtain part of her husband’s wealth is a fair request and does not need a fatwa, as women share their husbands in managing their life and household, so it’s unfair to deny her what she helped him achieve.

While in the case of divorce, it is a civil matter that takes place by mutual consent, and there are opinions of the Maliki and Hanbali ideologies that permit a woman to share her husband’s wealth with mutual consent between the two parties. The professor also stressed that we should put an end to terms like guardianship

Dr. Saad Al-Din Al-Hilali pointed out that laws trump fatwas, because fatwas tolerate wrong and right, while laws are the decisive factor and definitive reference that people trust. As for the Sharia, it is God’s direct orders that are agreed upon by all. Therefore, the government should enforce more laws that protect and liberate women against discrimination in all scopes.

Promoting Gender Equality at 3rd Arab Woman Forum

The Ministry of Youth and Sports – the Central Administration for Youth Development, in cooperation with the Arab League and the Arab Women Organization (AWO), held workshops over three days, as part of the activities of the third Arab Woman Forum, with the participation of 18 countries.

That came following the directives of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to launch the Year of Arab Youth 2023, which is the first event of the initiative, under the slogan “Participation – Development – Stability” from January 25 to February 1, 2023, at the Engineering Authority Guest House, Cairo.

Najwa Salah, Undersecretary of the Ministry and Head of the Central Administration for Youth Development, Dr. Asma Ismail, file officer and general coordinator of the forum, and Dr. Fadia Kiwan, Director General of the Arab Women Organization, attended the event.

Attending the workshops were Dr. Lamia Bulbul, Social Diversity Expert; Dr. Muhammad Habib, Political and International Media Expert and Editor-in-Chief of Al-Hayat Channel Networks; Nihad Abu Al-Qumsan, Critical lawyer and member of the National Council for Human Rights; and Dr. Ghada Hammam.

The workshops were divided into small groups of young men and women to conduct applied training and formulate recommendations. The workshops discussed ways to develop the social role of men and women and introduce gender blindness, in addition to presenting ideas to promote gender equality in daily life and defining how to shape our identity and values.

The forum aims to shed light on the most critical challenges facing girls in Arab societies, underline the role of women in preserving national security and achieving comprehensive development, address the importance of launching youth initiatives to serve development issues in the Arab world, and discuss the challenges facing girls and Arab women in society.

The forum additionally held many sessions and workshops to advocate further women-related issues.

Banque Misr’s Responsible Sustainability Shines Through Women’s Empowerment

Written by: Top 50 Women Forum’s team

Gender mainstreaming is vital to achieving a sustainable prosperous community.  For that reason, Banque Misr’s role in community well-being is strongly connected to gender equality, beside its keenness on promoting sustainable and inclusive growth.

For the past century, Banque Misr has been taking steps to ensure no one falls behind. In this regard, the bank spearheaded various initiatives to spur prosperity and boost the livelihoods of several society segments.

Along with a practical strategy embracing digital transformation, Banque Misr incorporates diversity and inclusivity into its dynamic strategy. In this regard, Banque Misr constantly ensures significant female representation on its boards; which is considered a rewarding step to outperform and sustain leadership.

Through capacity-building and financial learning, the bank expands its catalytic role in women’s economic empowerment by supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Subsequently, Banque Misr launched, in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the first integrated financing program supporting Egyptian women entrepreneurs “Zaat”.

The three-year partnership launched an innovative program to boost the development of Egypt’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, with a prime focus on women. The program offers a wide variety of financial and non-financial services for female entrepreneurs, including offering needed funding and training sessions, among other business development needs.

The bank also takes the lead in embracing responsible banking principles, contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  In this regard, Banque Misr sponsored the TOP 50 Women Forum’s “Women Toward Sustainability” seminar.

The seminar was organized in cooperation with the Egyptian Institute of National Planning (INP) and Dcarbon Egypt. It introduced the first climate awareness training for women in business, in support of Egypt’s green economy transition.

As a sponsor of the forum’s seminar, the bank stepped up the sustainability reporting in line with International Sustainability Reporting Initiative (GRI).

The bank also infuses its collaborative efforts to promote Egyptian women’s entrepreneurship and leadership.

Accordingly, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The American University in Cairo (AUC) to qualify and train women entrepreneurs and support them in establishing and scaling up women-led SMEs, in line with Egypt’s financial inclusion strategy.

Banque Misr pioneers in accelerating socioeconomic prosperity, ensuring equal access to formal financial services and products. Additionally, Banque Misr actively celebrates International Women’s Day and acknowledges women’s remarkable achievements in every sector.

During Cop27, the bank developed community-based climate action efforts, empowering women’s role in this regard. As part of Banque Misr’s well-rounded CSR strategy for women empowerment in every sector, it sponsored the professional squash player, Nada Abbas, who is currently ranked 22nd globally.

On the other hand, Banque Misr extends its CSR role in empowering vulnerable women, taking responsibility, in cooperation with its community foundation, to support the livelihoods of rural women and achieve social justice.

Thus, collaborative efforts are exerted to eliminate poverty, facilitate women’s access to formal banking services, and improve the living conditions of women, particularly those living in grassroots areas. That being the case, the bank offers in-kind grants, organizes handicraft workshops, and sponsors handicraft exhibitions.

Ultimately, Banque Misr has been a proactive catalyst for empowering women to drive sustainable development, fully committing to gender equality and women’s empowerment. The bank makes extensive efforts to build an economically stable, sustainable future.

Qalaa Holdings Joins UN Declaration of Principles for Empowering Women

Qalaa Holdings (Egyptian stock exchange code CCAP.CA) – a leading energy and infrastructure investment company – announced its participation and accession to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) initiative, which was launched by the UN, in cooperation with the UN Global Compact and the UN Women to emphasize the support and achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women in the workplace.

That has been endorsed by more than 2,600 companies worldwide, and this signing represents the culmination of Qalaa’s efforts to empower women economically and achieve gender equality, and its commitment to applying the seven principles mentioned in the declaration.

The investment company is keen on continuing to create an institutional approach to achieve gender equality and treat all women and men fairly at work, respecting and supporting human rights and non-discrimination, in addition to ensuring the health, safety and well-being of all working women and men.

In addition, the company promotes education, training and professional development for women, adopts practices that strengthen the empowerment of women, urges equality through community initiatives, encourages inclusion, and works to measure progress in achieving gender equality and report on it publicly.

This signing comes within the framework of Qalaa’s constant belief in the importance of concerted efforts to empower women, through its implementation of a sustainable business model based on equal opportunities and equality, as well as the launch of many community development programs and initiatives and active participation in the initiatives of the state and international institutions to enhance the status of women in society.

It should be mentioned that Qalaa Holding’s business falls under a globally agreed scope concerning women’s economic empowerment and their essential role in the advancement of society and the Egyptian economy, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the UN efforts in the economic empowerment of women as one of the main pillars for achieving sustainable development.


State pays great attention to empowering women, ensuring them decent life: Hassan Shehata

Believing in the vital role of women in society and their ability to succeed in high-ranking legislative as well as executive positions, the State pays significant attention to empowering them economically and socially and ensuring that they have a decent life, Manpower Minister Hassan Shehata said.

The minister made the remarks during a meeting with UN Women Egypt Country Representative Christine Arab and UN Women Egypt working team, to review aspects of cooperation on various issues of mutual interest.

Shehata said Egypt was the first in the world to launch a national women’s empowerment strategy for 2030, in line with the goals of sustainable development, which was approved by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi as a road-map for the Egyptian government.

Moreover, in all its labor-related laws, the State is keen on empowering and protecting women, and offering them adequate training opportunities at fixed and mobile training centers available nationwide, the minister said.

In addition, a Gender Equality Unit has also been established at the Manpower Ministry’s headquarters, with as many as 27 affiliated sub-units in all governorates, Shehata said.

Meanwhile, Arab expressed pleasure at the fruitful cooperation between the ministry and the UN body, commending also the ministry’s role in sustaining women’s engagement in the labor market, while protecting their rights at work places.

Maternal Employment Shapes Daughters’ Employment Stability in Egypt

Egyptian moms play a crucial role in their daughters’ stable careers, despite the unequal job opportunities provided for women to this day. Dr Mariam Abouelenin and Professor Yang Hu, of Lancaster University, conducted a research study that underlined the growing impact of working Egyptian mothers on their adolescent daughters, pointing out how girls are more affected by their mothers than they are by their fathers, as daughters usually follow their mothers’ career ambition.

The research also added that mothers’ employment in the public or private sector jumpstarts their daughters’ aspirations and opportunities to acquire a secure job in the same sector.

The titled study, ‘Maternal Employment Shapes Daughters’ Employment Stability in Egypt: Evidence for the Intergenerational Transmission of Labor Force Attachment’ has been published in the journal, Sex Roles. It mainly reflects on how women’s employment is shaped by their mothers’ career choice

Dr. Abouelenin shared the findings of her study, which indicated that supporting Egyptian moms’ employment leads to empowering women and achieving gender equality in the job market for generations. She also highlighted the strong relation between having an employed mother and a daughter’s job stability, pointing out that girls with employed mothers have double the chance to get stable employment than girls with stay-at-home moms.

She said “We felt this study was important because women’s employment stability is an important yet understudied dimension of women’s economic empowerment”, Adding “A common trend that we are seeing in Egypt – and many Middle East and North Africa countries – is a rapid increase in female education attainment and the closing of gender gaps in education. But women’s educational success is not translating into their participation in the labour force.”

And then she concluded her speech by stating “Future interventions are needed to also break sectorial segregation in the Egyptian labour market,” she added. “One area worth targeting is the intergenerational relationship between mothers and their daughters.”

New report highlights the private sector response to promoting gender equality in the Arab States

Cairo – In partnership with the UN Global Compact and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States published the Bridging the Gap in the Arab States report on emerging private sector response and recovery measures for gender equality, a companion piece to the global publication of UN Women and IFC ‘Bridging the Gap – Emerging Private Sector Response and Recovery Measures for Gender Equality amid COVID-19 (2020)

The report provides examples of good practices from a growing number of businesses in the Arab States that are taking gender-responsive action to ensure the economic inclusion and social well-being of their employees, customers, and suppliers, as well as local communities. By adopting a holistic and intersectional approach, the report presents the good practices of private sector companies across six diverse thematic pillars that can ultimately contribute to achieving better business outcomes, lowering turnover and absenteeism rates in the workplace, and increasing productivity levels in the workplace.

The six thematic pillars are: promoting well-being and mental health; providing flexibility and family-friendly policies; enabling equal access and use of digital technologies and platforms; ensuring equal access to financial and non-financial services; strengthening inclusive supply chains and support for women-led businesses; and addressing, preventing and mitigating gender-based violence.

Welcoming the release of the report, the Regional Director for UN Women in the Arab States, Ms. Susanne Mikhail Eldhagen, said “the economic crisis as result of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted different regions, countries, and populations differently. However, we do see one common thread, namely that women have borne the brunt of job losses and increases in unpaid care, as well as exposure to violence. We know from the evidence that women’s economic inclusion and increased labour force participation can significantly impact and accelerate the region’s socio-economic recovery, and hence address the negative consequences of the economic crisis. Therefore, UN Women emphasizes the importance of partnerships with the private sector to advance and promote gender equality in the workplace, marketplace, and communities. We are pleased to see that a growing number of companies in the region share this commitment, and applaud the more than 350 companies that have already signed the CEO Statement of Support to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), forming part of a global platform of close to 6,500 members that are taking action towards women’s economic empowerment.”

“Ensuring women have a seat at the table is not just the right thing to do, it’s good business,” said Khawaja Aftab Ahmed, IFC’s Regional Director for the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. “With the private sector facing uncertainty around the world, instilling workplace policies that address the gender gap will support businesses while promoting the sustainable growth of the global economy.”

Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General & CEO of the UN Global Compact said “while we are all navigating uncharted waters with the current converging crises of the world, one thing is for certain: to build forward better, we must build forward in a more gender inclusive way. Together, we can disrupt gender stereotypes and ensure that women and girls are empowered in business and beyond.”

The report makes a regional call to action for business leaders to introduce and implement necessary gender-sensitive policies and measures to address the gender gap. A gender-responsive business environment will translate into sustainable and inclusive development that will be more resilient to potential future socio-economic shocks.